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Learner Reviews & Feedback for Finding Hidden Messages in DNA (Bioinformatics I) by University of California San Diego

915 ratings
221 reviews

About the Course

Named a top 50 MOOC of all time by Class Central! This course begins a series of classes illustrating the power of computing in modern biology. Please join us on the frontier of bioinformatics to look for hidden messages in DNA without ever needing to put on a lab coat. In the first half of the course, we investigate DNA replication, and ask the question, where in the genome does DNA replication begin? We will see that we can answer this question for many bacteria using only some straightforward algorithms to look for hidden messages in the genome. In the second half of the course, we examine a different biological question, when we ask which DNA patterns play the role of molecular clocks. The cells in your body manage to maintain a circadian rhythm, but how is this achieved on the level of DNA? Once again, we will see that by knowing which hidden messages to look for, we can start to understand the amazingly complex language of DNA. Perhaps surprisingly, we will apply randomized algorithms, which roll dice and flip coins in order to solve problems. Finally, you will get your hands dirty and apply existing software tools to find recurring biological motifs within genes that are responsible for helping Mycobacterium tuberculosis go "dormant" within a host for many years before causing an active infection....

Top reviews


Jul 29, 2018

This course is very very good. Challenging at times. It does not hold your hand at all times and sometimes requires research to solve some of the problems, but I like the community and the approach.


Sep 10, 2019

The material of the course is simply exquisitely presented. The concepts are clear, easy to grasp. You won't be a bioinformatician after doing this course, but you'll make the first step.

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151 - 175 of 220 Reviews for Finding Hidden Messages in DNA (Bioinformatics I)

By Rohit C R

Jan 15, 2017

It may be more helpful to students who are not taking the honors code if they had access to ready made programming codes to complete the stepik exercises as it is extremely taxing and not feasible to solve all problems by hand.

Brilliantly structured and very effective learning method!

I also felt that Gibbs sampling could have been explained further or more in detail.

Thank you!

By Fikrat T

Nov 11, 2019

Excellent course. Excellent tutors. I am a fan of and this course. However, the only thing that I consider redundant in this course is peer to peer assignment; and I guess solution here is to reduce number of peers who must review the assignment. I think 3 peers are enough to grade the assignment.

But everything rest is top!

By Shane P

Aug 15, 2020

Great course! Really liked the instructors and the online tool to follow along with concepts and coding challenges. There were a few points with vague instructions that took some extra time to figure out. Would definitely recommend this course but it will be more difficult for people with little to no programming experience.

By Jad H

Mar 8, 2021

Even if quite hard, contrary to what is said at the beginning, this course challenged my biology knowledge whilst introducing me to the fascinating world of algorithms and coding. I'd recommend starting an introductory course on biology meets programming before starting this adventure.

By Lee Z Y

Sep 27, 2020

Content-wise it was great. I got quite disheartened by the peer graded assignment: the majority of the submissions I graded just copied the rubric. There needs to be a negative grade for cheaters - but I think it better that we don't have peer-graded assignments in the first place.

By Yousef A

Jan 12, 2019

I really liked the course, I had fun finishing assignments and learning the theory behind each concept. However, I take my time very seriously and this course has underrated the time you should devote as I end up having too much pressure due to other work I should be doing.

By Vishnu K

Oct 6, 2020

This course is awesome but I had done the same course named Biology meets Programming: Bioinformatics for Beginners which was uploaded ago by these guys but it was not a specialization for that course. Or I may not say it very surely.

By Tuan N

Feb 1, 2021

As a graduate student with background in molecular biology, I find the computational challenging enough, and there is some new insights in biology as well. However, some of the lectures of week 3 and week 4 are very confusing.


May 9, 2021

Good introductory course for Bioinformatics. I like the hands-on activities in Week 5. However, sometimes I do not understand the pseudo code and therefore need to read the comments shared by other learners.

By Michael O

Jun 29, 2016

Very nice course and information, but backend could be more polished. Many tasks (expecially about randomized algorithms) could fail even if you do 100% right. And very little debug information provided.

By Christiane A

Mar 6, 2017

Fascinating subject where informatics and biology come together . By taking these courses you get a deep understanding of how research results are obtained by multidisciplinary teams.

By Emilio F V

Mar 17, 2022

Hay muchas lagunas, faltan mejores explicaciones para aquellos que son nuevos programando, mejorar los códigos aportados o explicarlos para entender como funciona cada parte del código

By Dhivyaprakash N

Sep 26, 2020

It was very tough and worth attempting it because I have given many numbers of attempts in all the quizzes but at every attempt, I could rectify my mistakes.

By Estefania E

Jun 28, 2017

A good course and introduction. Some of the computer graded homework assignments need better explanations for the desired result set, to avoid frustration.

By Немытько В А

Feb 8, 2021

Основной курс находится на Stepik, здесь же непродолжительные лекции которые полностью повторяются и раскрываются на Stepik что немного странно.

By Geoff R

Mar 24, 2021

After completing the entire course, I feel like the majority of it was explained well. The assignments are fair and the content is interesting.

By Haeuk

Mar 14, 2021

The content itself is interesting and challenging enough. However, the wordings need improvements. Some parts were difficult to understand.

By Igor K

Aug 18, 2017

Very interesting lectures and practical assignments. But in my opinion the capstone project is not too interesting for "computer" people.


May 1, 2020

The course was great. I would recommend it to anyone interested. There are a few things to fix, especially on the external toolkit.

By Shabnam S

May 14, 2020

Some of the Stepik material needs to be updated and put in more clear and simpler language. Otherwise, great learning curve!


Jun 8, 2020

The programming assignments could have been described more appropriately otherwise the course material was quite great.

By Juana S L

Apr 22, 2018

I couldn't finish successfully last question but I don't know why. I believe I understand the meaning of the question

By Cagdas U

Jan 4, 2019

The answers are stale. MEME tool results don't match what they expect. It takes a while to find students to review.

By Hariz S

Jul 4, 2021

Please do Biology meet Programmer before doing this course. A bit leap even for biologist with some coding skill

By Kenny S

Apr 11, 2021

the course is great, extermely informative and educational, just takes a lot of time to grok all the information